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Local Customs When Driving Abroad

By: Tracy Whitelaw - Updated: 26 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Local Customs When Driving Abroad

Learning local customs about the country you’re travelling in can be a fundamental aspect of driving abroad. Preparing before you go is one of the best moves you can make as familiarising yourself with customs can not only keep you safe, but also make your trip more enjoyable. Each country has their own set of unusual road roads when it comes to travelling abroad, so learn them first and have a great trip!

Local Customs While Driving in the USA

Some of the most common local customs in the USA centre around their particular types of road and styles of driving. Learning them before you head can add to the pleasure of a road trip through one of the best long-distance driving countries in the world.

  • Turn right on a red light – A common local custom in most states. Check first it’s clear and then proceed to turn right on a red light
  • Traffic lights are different – They change from red to green, there’s no amber intermediary light as in the UK
  • Roundabouts are rare – Most US cities prefer intersections and junctions to roundabouts so get used to driving these and knowing who has priority
  • Right hand Drive – Remember to drive on the right hand side of the road in the States

Local Customs While Driving in Australia

One of the best aspects of driving in Australia is that it’s such a beautiful country to explore with diverse landscapes within mere hours of each other. Many people don’t realise the sheer size of the country and the expanse of the roads there. Learning the local customs will help you traverse the beaches, outback and cities of Australia with ease.
  • Left hand drive – Australians drive on the same side of the road as people in the UK. This keeps things easy and will make driving there simple to adjust to
  • Waving at other drivers – It’s not common practice here to wave thanks to other drivers so don’t be offended if people don’t give you a courtesy wave when you let them in

Local Customs While Driving in Europe

Many countries in Europe have their own sets of local customs and the only way of familiarising yourself with them is to read about them before you go or simply going and learning on the move. Regardless of the differences between the countries, many have similar customs when it comes to driving.
  • Exclusion zones – areas in major cities where you must not enter during a particular time of day
  • Right hand drive – countries in Europe are right hand drive so go slowly at first to get used to driving on the other side of the road
  • Kilometres not miles – don’t forget the speed limits there are in km not mph
  • Driver differences – drivers in Europe may not always follow the defensive driving plan we’re taught in the UK. Stay well back from vehicles in front and try not to get involved in road rage.

No matter where you might be heading off to in your plans to drive abroad, always remember that you’re a guest in a foreign country and it’s essential that you abide by their local customs and laws. Staying safe and relaxed while driving is important so familiarize yourself with local customs, laws, road rules and of course penalties imposed for breaking them. Always take essential items with you such as emergency contact numbers, hazard warning lights, first aid kit and more to help ensure your safe trip.

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